The 1872-3 cruise of the pearl-shelling schooner Franz : reordering the southwest Pacific maritime trade
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Stephen MullinsStephen Mullins
The 1872 cruise of Franz illustrates a number of points about the transformation of 19th Century Australian pearl-shelling. In 1872 its methods of operation, labour relations and financial arrangements were much the same as in the earlier western Pacific whaling, sandalwood and bêche-de-mer (trepang) industries. However, onboard relationships were being re-ordered as pearl-shelling became more capital intensive and required more experienced labour. Pearl-shelling masters also had to contend with changing regulatory regimes and shifting loci of power on remote maritime frontiers. Failure to cope with these could prove disastrous.